Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To Monk or Not to Monk

I'm quite a fan of monk straps. I don't see many around Columbia. Maybe I will start a trend by wearing mine as often as I can.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Runaway Runway....A Recycled Fashion Show

Yes, I know what you're thinking: isn't all fashion recycled? And of course you are right. But please wipe that I'm-quite-clever smirk from your lips if they should happen to twitch with self-satisfaction. These creative people dipped into the literal recycling bin and threw something on with gusto. Bravo, I say, for imagination...and re-imagination. It keeps my work interesting.

What darlings these three young women are. Dresses made from tennis balls, comics and electronics.
A dress of newspapers....surprisingly elegant.

An entire outfit of Gatorade labels, perhaps collected from a local sports team? (I haven't yet tried this American concoction, having been a switchel man since my tipsy cricket days.)

Another of some 60 entries in all. Though delighted by the parade of "trashion", I must say I was most thrilled to see two particular ladies.....

The Lady Chablis clad in a Crown Royal bag gown...

And of course, The Always Enchanting Peg, whose photo I captured on my way to 701 Whaley. I never fail to find her well put together in every way. Oh my.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Dear readers, I'm renting a Nikon D40 for a week from Grant's camera shop, The F-Stop on Harden Street. The quality in the above photo is much better than my point and shoot; I may throw all caution to the wind and upgrade. We only live once, yes?

Grant is wearing his grandfather's Cuban style shirt. His grandmother passes them down to him when his grandfather can no longer fit into them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jason...Cooperative Ministry

I met Jason while donating an old cashmere sweater and a pair of monk straps to the Cooperative Ministry Clothing Bank. Jason describes his look as a mixture of 1950s greaser, surfer dude, with an occasional bit of punk thrown in for good measure. Born in Jamaica, he moved to North London as a child (ah, how we reminisced over our old stomping ground). Jason later came to Columbia to be near his mother.

I failed to ask him about the flipped over tongues of his Converse high tops. I'm certain some special meaning must be behind it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fashion Show....701 Whaley

Whether I'm watching models skulk the runways of Milan or a cheery fashion show at the Lexington Women's Club, one truth holds, well, true: the best show is always provided by the audience. And thus it was last week, as University of South Carolina students orchestrated their own fashion week. I arrived early, so that I could watch the show before the show. Here are just a few of my findings....

These two students arrived, not knowing one another. I simply had to have them together for a single colour-coordinated photo, all the while mulling the return of a trend.

The last time neon was big, I was in the middle of my second mid-life crisis. The British health authorities had upped the average life expectancy, leaving me no choice really. I'd celebrated my first midlife crisis too soon. So I purchased a pair of neon green pleather pants and let the silliness begin...again.

Are rumours of a day-glo resurgence worth heeding? Both David and Liz found their bright green at Express. David, indeed, calls the colour neon green. Liz calls it kiwi.

This exotic, angular beauty caught my eye, and I rushed over to meet her. (I am aged, dear reader, not dead!) My delight was doubled when she spoke in a dulcet British accent, then tripled to learn that she is a woman after my own heart: Ishy is an exchange student at the university, studying history no less. Her ruffled top is from Topshop in London, her skirt from Peacocks, "sort of the Target of Great Britain," she says.

Creighton, a student at Dreher High School, proved that a grey palette can conjure magic. Something about this combination strikes me as elfin. Creighton seems to have arrived at a theory of style that eludes many mature women: she prefers just a few items that can work together in innumerable ways, she says. Her skirt is a hand-me-down from a cousin, her boots from Belk.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Willson....Garden Party

I documented the garb of a number of guests at this garden party (which you may note if you, as they say, scroll down). I spoke at greatest length with Willson. He was once an interior designer in New York and has that eye for detail. His choice of pocket square led to a lively discussion with a group of guests: what's in your pocket? One wry fellow insisted he likes stuffing flyers into his shirt pocket--yes, 8.5 x 11 paper flyers to promote local events, folded in half length-wise--because "I like the way they scratch my chin." Willson had not only a silk square in his pocket, it turns out, but also this antique silver cigarette case.

Before you tut-tut, do know: the gentleman has repurposed it and now carries his calling cards inside.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I first met Caroline one night at Goatfeathers when she had on a demure skirt with a 1940's green jacket. I've a feeling her look changes on a daily basis. I'm intrigued and may have to seek her out more often. Though no worries, my dear, I'm far too old and feeble to be considered a stalker.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Charlie....All Abloom

The sun was beginning to set on Finleaf's garden party, but Charlie's yellow shirt shone bright nonetheless. The gentleman told me he owns an array of floral shirts. Most are Robert Graham shirts, which he finds at Brittons on Devine Street. By way of explaining this propensity for button-fronts in bloom, he tells me he is a horticulturalist. He works at Mill Creek nursery on Leesburg Road. He designed his shoes himself, on the Vans website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I'm often asked my professional opinion at cocktail parties: is khaki a colour or a fabric?

I would not be much of a conversationalist if I merely said "both". So I sidestep the direct answer with this kickshaw: In her young rebellious days, my mother was a nurse with the Indian Army Nursing Service. As far back as I can remember, I was forbidden from uttering "khaki" in her presence. Not only does it derive from the Hindi word for dust-colored, she said, but it was popular slang along the lines of cacka and merde.

Despite my dear mum's aversion, I'm fond of khaki, both fabric and colour. It is popular in these parts, I suspect, for the same reason it is in other warm climes. Take this slim khaki suit, for example. It's neutral, the right weight for most seasons, durable, formal enough but not too...I could go on but then, perhaps, you might be reluctant to invite me to your next cocktail party. And that would cause me to murmur "oh khaki" indeed.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Occasionally one can still find a well-dressed traveler among the flip-flopping pyjama-panted throng.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Just back from a quick tour of Tennessee. I approached Patrick on the porch of Shenanigan's restaurant. Such a good sport about having his picture taken.

I'd like to begin a discussion about duck boots. Are duck boots usual attire in Sewanee? I'm truly interested. I only see Columbia men wearing duck boots when they are off to hunt. Or do Columbia men wear duck boots at other times as well? Dear readers, please enlighten me.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lucas...San Antonio Taco Co.

I was very nearly moved to tears when Lucas left Columbia for Nashville. You see, he'd been my on-call computer whiz. Any silly technical question was answered with ease. I'm now stuck with the Geek Squad.

I realize Lucas is wearing garb similar to that of hundreds of other young men in their 20s. But when one is young, good-looking and buff, isn't that a sort of fashion in and of itself?